Where And How You Break Up With Someone Are Just As Important As Why

Never has a classic pop song been more accurate than Neil Sedaka's 1962 classic "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." Ain't that the truth? When things start to go sour in our love lives, and the relationship has run its course, it may be time to rip off the Band-Aid and end things swiftly, but it's definitely a fine art. How do you say it? Where do you say it? What words do you use? 

We saw exactly how not to do it in the iconic "Sex And The City" episode where Carrie Bradshaw's boyfriend Jack Burger breaks up with her by writing, "I'm sorry. I can't. Don't hate me," on a post-it note. A post-it! Even the police officer who arrested Carrie for smoking weed didn't believe a man could break up with someone so callously. Honestly, don't be like Burger. It's time to put your big girl pants on and handle this situation with delicacy, and care, but also firmly with assertiveness. Here are our best tips for instigating healthy breakups like a pro (not a bro). 

Do not dump someone in public

If you're about to dump your partner, it could be for a variety of reasons — maybe the spark is gone. Maybe they've disrespected you, or maybe you've disrespected them. For whatever reason, it's important to remember that you have shared something special and intimate with this person, and you need to grant them the dignity and respect to end things in a private, and personal manner.

Yes, that means no post-its! If you want to be considered an upstanding person, you will break up with them in-person, but not in public. Choose a private location where you can have a dignified and respectful conversation that also allows the other person to grieve and feel what they need to feel freely. Author Mark Manson writes on his website that, "Being in public makes people feel limited in what they can express." If they want to cry or ask questions or pace up and down, public locations will prevent them from doing it, and they may feel like they can't have the honest and raw conversation they need to have. So no coffee shops, no park benches, and no restaurants. 

Don't try to make them feel better

It's hard when someone you care about is crying or raging because you've just broken their heart. You want out of the relationship, and their ego is bruised. It's only natural to want to make them feel better. That is a huge no-no, however. Do not try to console them, comfort them, or say anything to try and make them feel better. Sounds counterintuitive right? But when it comes to breakups, it can be confusing. Author Mark Manson says that their emotions are no longer your responsibility, and you cannot take that on, considering you are no longer their partner.

Relationship expert and neuropsychotherapist Joanne Wilson told VICE, "If you don't want to be with someone then you don't have to be with them." She then points out that by trying to emotionally support your new ex, you will be prolonging your own healing and any attempt to move on and move forward. "Take the time you need to forgive yourself and do what's best for you," she tells the outlet.

Don't turn your breakup into social media content

If you haven't learned by now, never change your Facebook status to "in a relationship." You will eventually learn the hard way that, at some point, that status will change, and then everyone in your network will have questions. When going through a breakup, sometimes there is an urge to make vague social media posts about what you're going through. Without being specific, you post suspicious quotes or sad song lyrics to hint at the situation. This actually has a term: vaguebooking. However, you have to consider the privacy of your ex, and they may not want their broken heart mined for content and likes. 

Therapist Samantha Burns, a licensed mental health counselor, relationship coach, and author, told The Cut, "If it's an amicable breakup, you may want to agree on a day to change your relationship status, so it gives you both time to share the news with friends and family before they see it publicly." Burns then told the outlet that its perfectly okay to unfriend your ex. They may take it personally, but you're doing what you need to do to move on with your life. At some point in the future, they will understand and you can then have a platonic friendship.

Take time apart and set on clear boundaries before trying for a friendship

In his famous 2011 breakup song "Somebody That I Used To Know," Gotye sings, "You didn't have to cut me off/Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing." We feel this. Often in breakups, we want to swiftly extract ourselves from our ex's life, and go from best friends to absolute strangers in an effort to move on. Moving on and setting clear boundaries is good, and "Savage Love" sex and dating columnist Dan Savage advises the best way to go about it maturely and with kindness.

Speaking at the Kessler Theater in 2011, Savage suggested, "If you're dumped, and they want to remain friends, and you, in theory, want to be the kind of person who's friends with their ex, say, 'Yes! We are going to be really good friends two and a half years from now.'" He went on to explain in his syndicated column (via The Georgia Strait) that time and distance are the best way to heal the wound of breakups, and communicating that is always best for them, and for you. Telling them where you're at emotionally, and what you need going forward, will be the best act of friendly kindness during this transition phase. Making sure things don't get ugly is probably the best way to go from lover to friend with your dignity intact.